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Bangladesh trade road show in US likely to be deferred again
AZM Anas

A trade and investment road show in the United States (US), slated for November this year, is likely to be deferred once again due to lack of preparatory work on the part of co-organisers.
The road show, to be organised jointly by the US Embassy in Dhaka and the Board of Investment (BoI), has already been postponed thrice-originally scheduled in May this year.
"There is no substantial progress in the preparatory work for organising the show in mid-November," a high official of the Board of Investment (BoI) said Monday.
The two-week-long road show, to be held in four US cities, including Baltimore, New Jersey and Houston-is aimed at billing Bangladesh as an emerging location in South Asia for trade and investment, BoI officials said.
The road show is seen as crucial for Dhaka in the context of the abolition of decades-old quota system for global textile and clothing from January 1, 2005 and a fall in the inflows of US investments.
The road show, to be organised in the USA for the first time, is expected to help boost up the bilateral trade between the two countries, and attract large American corporations to invest in Bangladesh.
The show will give Bangladeshi businessmen an opportunity to showcase their wide-variety of products and services in the world's largest economic dynamo, a trade official at the US Embassy here said.
The embassy official said that the delegation will not only have the opportunity to display Bangladeshi products and promote Bangladesh as an attractive investment location, but will have the opportunities to establish direct linkages with US corporations and buyers.
The official, however, acknowledged that the schedule of the road show has been shifted thrice: May, September and the last time in October. The timing of the show has been shifted for several reasons.
BoI officials said that the investment promotion agency adopted a "go slow" policy regarding the process of enlisting the members of the Bangladesh delegation.
The officials, in the way of explaining further the reason of the delay, said, "all-out lobbying of individuals and organisations, to get included in the team was the main reason for the delay in the process of finalising the list of the delegation".
The delegation will include, among others, ministers, chamber leaders, government officials, and businessmen. Commerce Minister, Finance Minister, and Executive Chairman of the BoI will accompany the delegation.
As of October 2004, Bangladesh shipped merchandise worth US$ 1.96 billion to the US market, making it the country's single largest export destination.
In 2003, the country's export to the US totalled US$ 2.07 billion, while its import from the world's biggest economy was $ 225.9 million. That left a trade gap of $ 1.84 billion in favour of Bangladesh.
On the investment front, the US investment in Bangladesh is now plummeting, with corruption, weak enforcement of intellectual property rights, suffocating bureaucracy discouraging American investors to invest in a big way, sources said.